Ohio State Buckeye fans, how are you feeling right now?
Your football program is being flushed down the toilet, Jim Tressel is in hot water and your basketball team, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, got bounced on a shot with five seconds remaining in the game. Sounds like you just got punched in the nose, ribs and groin. All in about a week.
Well, let Jared Sullinger gladly put a smile on your face. He vowed to reporters after the stunning two-point loss to Kentucky that he will be returning for his sophomore season in Columbus. Finally, the Scarlet and Silver can see the silver lining on all of the dark clouds.
I'm not a Michigan fan and I'm neutral towards Buckeye Nation. But this isn't about Ohio State. This about about Jared Sullinger. Good for him.
I'm so glad to see a loyal freshman come back after a year of college ball. I wish we saw it more these days. If we did, and I hope we do with the current labor situation in the NBA, I think the college basketball game would be a lot more interesting than it is now. These one-and-doners are not ready for the league. I don't care who they are. They could improve in some way, staying in college for more than one year.
Let's face it. College hoops has gone through a severe drop over the past couple of years due to the one-year wonders leaving college after their freshman year to just get a paycheck in the NBA.
Jared Sullinger is the first step into what will resurrect the college game. I can't even speak words on how happy it made me to see him come back. It shows me that he's loyal, committed and willing to do whatever it takes to get better to make the Buckeyes better, and raise his potential for the NBA.
Let's face it. Jared Sullinger isn't going to be a center in the NBA. He's 6'8". Sure, he's got the masculine build to make you believe he's post-worthy in the league, but I don't believe his is...completely. I think he can take it into the paint and play defense on guys down low, but his future is not at center. He needs to work on his face-up skills to the basket and his perimeter play.
Now, from what I have read, this should not be hard for him because he took more perimeter shots and played a little bit outside in high school. He could be a great 3-4 type of player in the NBA, but not a center. No way. Centers who are 6'8" are pretty rare...unless we're talking about Ben Wallace.
I could see Sullinger being an Elton Brand-type of player. Maybe even Glen Davis, just a lot better at scoring. I don't believe he'll be an elite player in the league, but he'll be a role player and might make a few All-Star teams.
But more of this has to do with the fact that I love college basketball and, agree or disagree, it has been depleted by kids leaving after their freshman year. Jared Sullinger is the first movement into getting freshmen to stay. I really hope Harrison Barnes, Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Cory Joseph, Kyrie Irving and Josh Selby all follow his lead. But that's highly doubtful.
I think Barnes will stay. I grew up 30 minutes away from him, and he always told the local media that he would see how his freshman year went, but he wanted to stay two to three years in college.
I hope they all stay. It would make college basketball so much more interesting next year. I'm tired of learning who the upcoming freshman are and who they're playing for year after year. That's just my take on Sullinger and the upcoming CBA situation or the NBA. Make them stay two years or more!